Tuesday, January 23, 2007
SECURITY ISSUES: DOUBLE STANDARDS?
As of today,Canadians and Americans who will be traveling by air across their borders as well as to Mexico and the Caribbean are supposed to carry their passports along with them. The move is said to be geared towards increased border security across all borders.In common terms,both Canadian and American authorities agrees that the borders needs to be more secure than ever before. As we know,the 9/11 attacks at World Trade Center in New York did drastically change the way across the borders issues are viewed and put in perspective.In fact, the whole world reviewed their policies on immigration procedures and border securities.It became a new mantra among politicians and policy makers.
However,because the "bring along your passport" idea originated in US,the whole move sounds "American" something which to many Canadians it indicates US distancing itself from Canada or slowly but smartly cutting the "friendship" that has existed for centuries apart from its ups and downs.Some have even predicted the beginning of the long walk towards redefining what Canadians and US friendship will look like in next 10-20 years.
Most of us will definitely agree that all nations in the world(including Canada and America) needs and must protect their borders. However, when it comes to way Canada and America talks and practice "border securities" subjects the sense I get is that different standards are put in place between or among the air travel from land or even sea travelers.
If you have ever traveled by land, lets say by Greyhound, Coach Canada or any other means of public transport across the borders you would have noticed that passengers are allowed on board without going through any high tech detectors like the ones you see at airports. The luggage are never screened.Literally,you are free to bring on board whatever you want to.Come with your liquids,come with your toy gun for your kids,no problem! The best the bus driver will do is to check whether you have a right ticket for the date that you want to travel.
Now let us assume that a small airplane at Pearson International Airport carries 45 passengers on the way to Detroit, Michigan. The same number of passengers boards the bus at Toronto Greyhound terminal on its way to the same destination as the small plane from Pearson.Is there any difference in the importance of life of these two groups of passengers? Many politicians,policy makers and citizens will agree with me that no,we do not have classes or rather we should not have. But is there any better way of meaning what we preach than practically doing it? Do we clearly split it out that we have classes when it comes to securities and values of lives? If not, then what criteria is used to determine the level of security that someone deserves or not deserve?
Applauding any move towards increased securities(not only at borders but also internal) should go hand in hand with treating everybody equally.What do you think?